Astronomy Friday – M4
With the limited equipment I have, I’ve pretty much pushed afocal astrophotography as far as I can. In addition, heavy light pollution has severely limited what I can see anyway. So I decide to make the leap into EAA, electronically assisted astronomy, which will allow me to see on my computer screen what I can’t see with my eyes through the telescope itself. CMOS cameras are now considered the standard for EAA but I went with a CCD camera instead, choosing the Starlight Xpress LX Pro Mono. Although it is considered simply a guide-cam, I’d seen people get pretty nice results with it with fast Newtonian telescopes and it allowed me to get my feet wet with EAA using the easy-to-use Starlight Live software. As expected, focusing with my current rack-and-pinion focuser was difficult and, since I can’t really polar align, I knew my tracking would be limited. In any case, here is my first attempt, Messier 4, a globular cluster in the constellation Scorpius, on a night with basically a full mon. Focusing is not quite there but this is far better than anything I could see visually or capture afocally.
Scope: Starblast 4.5; Camera: LX Pro; Stack: 22x1second, no darks, using Starlight Live